Nightmarish Books

Nightmarish Books

I scared very easily when I was a kid. I was asked about a book the other day which still inspires total fear in my heart – Struwwelpeter (Straw Peter); just the front cover was enough to have me quaking! I barely remember the stories but I’m not sure I would want to!

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I don’t even remember what it was about, but I still refuse to have one in the same house as me. Mum tried to buy a copy a while back – I must have been a teenager already – and I honestly almost wet my pants. This book, supposedly for children, still manages to inspire total fear even though I am twenty-one! These stories are absolutely creepy as all hell – I did some Googling and got scared – I have no idea who decided they were appropriate for kids!

One day, when I was in Year Three, my teacher decided to pick up a picture book for class reading. I’m pretty sure it was Valentine’s Day and that my teacher was wearing a tie with hearts on it – the details we remember in our fear. This book happened to be a version of Frankenstein – complete with grave-robbers and eerie images of Frankenstein stitching up his monster. I didn’t want to admit that I was scared, though when I got home Mum kept asking me why I was so pale. I STILL have not gone back and read Mary Shelley’s classic – although I now know the story and am in fact quite interested, it will always hold that element of fear…..

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And then, of course, there were the Goosebumps series. The horsey stories (which I loved) at my primary school library were very close to these horrifying covers – I always ran, averting my eyes, trying not to think about the terrors enclosed in their pages. Even today, I cower when I see them in a bookshop – what kind of child think these look like a great idea??

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I barely read horror at all! What I do read of this genre, I generally don’t recognise as horror before starting. And I am pretty sure it all links back to these three books and my experiences of them as a child. Are there any books you remember from your childhood which have affected your reading habits today? Are there any stories you refuse to touch now because of a bad experience as a kid?

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